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The beauty and functionality of asbestos sidewalls. With a visit to Levittown, N.Y. and an interview with Norman Denny, vice president of materials for Levitt & Sons, builders. An excellent film on Fifties standardized building processes.
This movie is part of the collection: Prelinger Archives
Producer: Handy (Jam) Organization
Sponsor: Asbestos Cement Products Association
Audio/Visual: Sd, C
Keywords: Houses and homes; Minerals: Asbestos; Suburbia
Creative Commons license: Public Domain
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Subject: Historically engaging, mildly entertaining
It is hard to believe the lengths they went to in this film to make you *want* asbestos siding. Lots of talk about the "wonders of asbestos" and great images of early to mid-fifties home building.
Perhaps, of greatest interest to me, my house is visible in the scene describing the "El Dorado Ranchos" where they show the people walking the street by model homes and the colored flags flying. Even more interesting is the fact that my home has WOOD and STUCCO siding and it has always been that way (at least as far as I can tell). Not sure why it was featured in a film on asbestos siding, probably looked good, or maybe asbestos was an option on the tract that the original owners of the house did not choose (thanks go to them). Interesting.
Subject: Hooray for asbestos!
This film documents the making of houses like the one I live in with asbestos siding.
A largely unknown (and ignored) fact: nearly all asbestos mineral used for industrial siding and insulation applications in the US during the 40s, 50s, and 60s were CAo2 (calcite) derived (dissolves when moistened), the rest was SIo2 (silica) (doesn't dissolve). Therefore, some selectivity in asbestos removal would have saved the gov A LOT of money.
Subject: Boy that narrator's voice is familiar
Having grown up in the 1940s it was easy to recognize the voice of Fred Foy as the narrator for the first half of this film. Mr. Foy was the narrator/announcer for the classic Lone Ranger radio and television episodes. It was he who asked the audience to "Return with us now to the thrilling days of yesteryear."
He brings the same pacing and drama to his vocal style for this film as he did to his many many Lone Ranger episodes. If only the homeowners, contractors, and espcially installers knew the kind of high drama awaiting them due to their use of asbestos.
It was a real treat hearing Fred Foy trying his best to make this film exciting.
Christine Hennig -
Subject: According to Plan: The Story of Modern Sidewalls for the Homes of America
This 50s film tells prospective homeowners how happy they will be if they put asbestos cement siding on their homes. It tells you way more than you want to know about this fairly dull building material. Mildly campy moments include the opening scene featuring a 50s couple putting together a model home in an oh-so-happy way, and the colors available, which are as follows: moss green (i.e. grey), brown, grey, and ivory (i.e. brown). There are lots of scenes of 50s suburbia when it was still new, including scenes of Levittown being built, which gives the film some historical interest. But just how interesting can you make shingles anyway? This film desperately needs a supernatural visitor or two to liven things up.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ***. Weirdness: **. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ***.
Subject: The Wonders Of Asbestos!
This nightmare inducing film explains away the awesomeness of Asbestos, which noone knew at the time (I think) the full health consequences of. This excellent Jem Dandy short glamourizes the, well, unglamourous topic of sidewalling and attempts to make people EXCITED about it, when choosing a new home.. Even though 3/4 of the homes showcased here look pretty much the same.
Holly Daggers -
Subject: No, not THAT asbestos! This is the good kind.
Although this isn't a particularly interesting film, it does contain essential footage of Levittown, NY, including construction sites, fully lived-in neighborhoods, and a public pool. Similar housing developments across the country are lovingly displayed in slow panoramic shots, displaying the "ticky-tacky" and generic boxes of Suburbia. Obligitory scenes of scientists in labcoats and boiling beekers of colored water symbolize *t*e*c*h*n*o*l*o*g*y*. Mineral fibers are cracked open from a rock and held over a flame Â but don't burn. Oooooohh, the wonders of asbestos, not the lethal blown-in powder, but friendly durable fibers caught in thin cement sheets which are nailed on your home as "sidewall" shingles. There are several face-to-camera interviews where a person stares into the lens and answers questions from an unseen announcer. Generic newlyweds banter unbelievably about building a home and having children. Really only of interest to someone looking for footage of new and colorful low-income housing (think: the pastel neigborhood from Edward Scissorhands).